US: BJ’s Wholesale Club CEO Lee Delaney dies at age 49
Lee Delaney, president and CEO of BJ’s Wholesale Club died unexpectedly at age 49. Westborough, Massachusetts-based BJ’s said that Delaney’s death was “due to presumed natural causes”. He had served as president and CEO since February 2, 2019, taking over from Christopher Baldwin, who became executive chairman.
US: Produce sales increased 11%, reaching $69.6bln in 2020
Not everyone found comfort in junk food during the pandemic last year. Some shoppers maintained better habits with healthy snacks and by incorporating more veggies into their home-cooked meals. This is according to FMI – The Food Industry Association’s “Power of Produce 2021”, which found that produce department sales reached $69.6bln in 2020, an 11.4% increase. The survey also found that grocery shoppers are purchasing more produce than they were before the COVID-19 pandemic, with consumers purchasing more fresh fruit (up 8.9%) and more vegetables (up 14.2%).
US: Meijer reveals unique shopping trends one year into pandemic living
As the one-year mark into pandemic living has officially passed, Grand Rapids, Michigan-based retailer Meijer reveals some of the most surprising shopping trends from the height of the shutdown to the ongoing changes in home and work lifestyles across the Midwest. While home delivery and pickup services doubled at Meijer stores over the last 12 months, customers used the retailer’s Shop & Scan technology more than 100mln times as they shopped and bagged while practicing social distancing to shorten time spent in the store.
US: Giant Co.’s urban inspiration
When it comes to new grocery concepts, there’s plenty of elements in the new Giant store on North 23rd Street in Philadelphia that take your breath away, from the produce department featuring unique items such as gift-wrapped pink pineapples, to the bakery case full of fruity pastry from a local patisserie, to the fresh-churned gelato near a breezy outdoor terrace. But for Giant Co. President and CEO Nick Bertram, the most beautiful feature of his new 65,000-square-foot urban flagship just might be the employee break room.
Amazon defeats historic Alabama union effort
Amazon has defeated activists hoping to establish the company’s first unionised warehouse in the US. Workers at the Bessemer, Alabama warehouse voted 1,798 to 738 against the effort, labour officials said. That represented a majority of votes cast in the contest, which was seen as a key test for Amazon after global criticism of its treatment of workers during the pandemic. The union said it would challenge the results.
Aldi, Asda attracted most new shoppers during most recent UK lockdown
Aldi and Asda have come up trumps in terms of attracting new shoppers to their stores during the most recent UK lockdown period, new data from Shoppercentric has found. When asked which grocery retailer they had used for the first time ever during the latest lockdown which was implemented in December 2020, 7% of respondents said Aldi, 6% said Asda and 5% said Tesco.
Switzerland: SPAR expands forecourt presence
SPAR Switzerland has expanded its forecourt business with the addition of 2 new stores in Langenthal and Pratteln in March in collaboration with AVIA and Autogrill. The SPAR Express outlet in Langenthal is managed by AVIA – the largest forecourt operator in Switzerland. Fresh bread is baked throughout the day in the store, and it also offers a wide range of fruit and vegetables, the retailer added. The second new store in Pratteln is a modernised and reconstructed SPAR Express outlet, with a sales area of 120 square metres. SPAR Switzerland is expanding its collaboration with motorway service area operator Autogrill with this store. The store offers a wide range of fresh products, such as fruit and vegetables, dairy products, cheese, and meat.
China fines Alibaba record $2.75bln for anti-monopoly violations
China slapped a record 18bln yuan ($2.75bln) fine on Alibaba Group Holding Ltd, after an anti-monopoly probe found the e-commerce giant had abused its dominant market position for several years. The fine, about 4% of Alibaba’s 2019 domestic revenues, comes amid a crackdown on technology conglomerates and indicates China’s antitrust enforcement on internet platforms has entered a new era after years of laissez-faire approach.
M&S backs British farming with new campaign to spotlight its pioneering Select Farms quality standards
M&S is reaffirming its commitment to British farming with the launch of a new four-month ‘Fresh Market Update’ customer campaign, showcasing the lengths its Select Farm partners go to deliver exceptional quality M&S Food. Select Farms quality means M&S only works with farmers, growers and producers it knows and trusts to source its products with care – whether that’s the highest animal welfare standards or protecting the natural environment.
UK: Co-op to hand top executives bonuses while withholding £65mln Covid funding
The Co-op Group has reported a revenue growth for the 51 weeks to January 2, thanks to “another good year” for its food business. The retailer is reportedly set to hand annual bonuses to senior executives despite refusing to repay £65mln in business rates relief it received from the government to help it fare through Covid-19. Co-op’s remuneration committee will reward chief executive Steve Murrells and senior colleagues for their work last year. The bonus amount will be disclosed in the Co-op’s annual report in the coming weeks, Sky News reported.